Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Sun 11 Sep 05 12:51
For a certain era and for some women, I think that "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains" has some things to recommend it. I thought Adler and Demme hit a few targets with that one. I also thought Diane Lane was gonna be a real big star the first time I saw it.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 11 Sep 05 15:06
"Zachariah." That's one weird movie. How about "Still Crazy"?
Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Sun 11 Sep 05 16:30
I was wondering if you could remember any good rock movies that starred or featured women (actors or musicians)?
Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sun 11 Sep 05 19:17
The Rose? Lady Sings the Blues?
Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sun 11 Sep 05 21:34
The Rose is notable though the story is so trite and weak but Lady Sings the Blues was a shoddy vehicle for Diana Ross' marginal acting talents. Didn't think much of her Billie Holiday either.
Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sun 11 Sep 05 21:38
David, Zachariah is so dated but it still maintains a certain charm, like having the James Gang playing in the middle of the desert. I thought Elvin Jones was an inspired bit of casting too. That's Pat Quinn who played Alice Brock in Alice's Restaurant playing Belle Starr. And a very young Don Johnson.
Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Sun 11 Sep 05 21:46
Lisa, I think the best rock film featuring a female musician is Prey For Rock & Roll starring Gina Gershon, Lori Petty, and Drea deMatteo. It's just a couple of years old. Gershon plays a musician-by-night/tattoo-artist-by-day who's skidding into 40 and reassessing her life in music. She wrote and performs most of the material - our own Texas Terri has a cameo performance too. It's got its flaws but is a really decent effort.
David Gans (tnf) Sun 11 Sep 05 23:28
I bought the DVD of "Zachariah" a few months ago, from the Firesign Theatre web site (they wrote it!). The Elvin Jones drum solo was a definite highlight!
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Mon 12 Sep 05 03:59
Lisa, was this a Book That Had To Be Written, or what else motivated you to write this book, now? If you weren't an academic, would you be able to pull off the (favorable) association of groupies and critics?
Vote or whine (divinea) Mon 12 Sep 05 06:35
Lisa, I'm so glad you're here! I'm enjoying the hell out of the book. I'll let you take bumbaugh's question first, of course, but I'd be interested in some general observations from you about how things have changed for women around/in the business over the last three or four decades.
Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Mon 12 Sep 05 07:00
bumbaugh, great questions! I believe a book on this subject (in fact many) need to be written. Compared to the amount of material out there on male rockers of the '60s and '70s, the available material for women is fairly small, especially that which uses academic quality citations and evidence. Initially, I came to the book out necessity. I was researching a film topic for my doctoral dissertation and wasn't sure that the actor had left her papers anywhere (kids, don't try this at home!). After a year of research, I found them in a small municipal museum on the Alabama/Georgia border. When I spoke with the curator, she told me that she had sold the publication rights to the collection to Knopf for the next 10 years. That left the project dead. I had a dissertation that had to be done and I was sinking into poverty and despair. So I thought, "What do I already know something about, something that I can stand researching for five years?" So I thought women rockers sounded good and I had always wanted to read old Rolling Stones from before I was old enought to remember the magazine. So I decided to write about articles on women rockers in the Rolling Stone from 1967-1972 for my dissertation. Once I started doing the literature review (i.e.what has already been written about the subject), I realized that next to nothing had been written about women rockers or Rolling Stone or the rock press for that matter in academia. Then I realized that I had found an area that was badly in need of research. After the dissertation, I sent the book out to several presses and received a variety of responses. Two rejection letters that I think bet me back from the mailbox, one letter of interest, and a phone call from U of Pennsylvania Press. They asked me to expand the project to include an entire decade and to include the Village Voice (which is NOT indexed). After doing the book, I can say that I have a much better appreciation for women's contributions to the culture of the era and even discovered a few women whose work I didn't know about, both musicians and journalists. As to the last part of your question, "If you weren't an academic, would you be able to pull off the (favorable) association of groupies and critics?" I believe the answer is yes for many reasons. I detect a note of criticism or censure of, I am assuming, the groupies, in your question: 1. Groupies are women who are having sex for fun and status. What's wrong with that? 2. Women in rock culture means all women. 3. Even if I were to disapprove of groupies sexual activities (which I don't), feminism tells me that all women are my sisters and it is counterproductive to judge them by who they have sex with . 4. Groupies make rock sexy and I like sexy rock.
Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Mon 12 Sep 05 07:09
divinea, I think the answer to your question is lots and not at all. There are more women in the field in certain areas, rock journalism for one, than there were in the '60s and '70s, but I believe that they still have a tougher time at it than the male journalists by and large. There are notable successes (Ann Powers of the NY Times leaps to mind) but then there have always been a few exceptions. M, as a woman journalist currently working in the field, you could field this one better than me. As for the musicians, I believe that there are more options for women to participate but their participation as instrumentalists is still very circumscribed. I am researching a new book on women instrumentalists of the '60s and '70s and think it is crucial to understanding women's roles in rock culture to better understand the women who play instruments besides their voices. Have things really changed today when women are ghettoized into being "chick bass players?" That is an oversimplification and I think there's more to it, but my research is just beginning. As for the groupies, I discuss in the conclusion of the book how the subculture has changed, and not (I believe) for the better. M, once again, you know a lot about current conditions in the groupie subculture. So pleased you are liking the book!
virtual community or butter? (bumbaugh) Mon 12 Sep 05 20:31
(Not censure so much as recognition of stigma. Rolling Stone doesn't/didn't regularly run feature stories on the women backstage, treats (if at all)/treated them very differently. And so, too, the larger culture (insofar as groupies get notice at all). For an academic, putting them all in one boat makes sense, esp in a feminist context. For a "popular" book, it seems more provocative.)
Dennis Wilen (the-voidmstr) Mon 12 Sep 05 20:41
Sex and rock and roll go together. But where's the drugs? Janis. Grace. Stevie. Cass. There are stories.....
Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Mon 12 Sep 05 21:06
I can see how it might seem provocative to include groupies to some folks. As a former musician, the idea of excluding them seems a lot more provacative, especially in light of their ubiquity, panache and influence on the scene. As for the drugs, this wasn't a tell-all type book and I included the drugs where they made sense,i.e. Janis's story is still there and still sad. In the first chapter I do address the shift in the drugs of choice during the late '60s and early '70s among those in the counter culture.
Berliner (captward) Tue 13 Sep 05 00:20
So did you have groupies when you were a musician, Lisa? Boys? Girls? Or did the guys in the band get 'em -- whether they took advantage of the situation or not -- and you never did? I've always wondered this about female rockers, because there were times I certainly had the impulse.
Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Tue 13 Sep 05 06:03
Yes, Ed, I had groupies, male and female, if by groupies you mean fans who wanted to have sex with me that I actually met. Some of the female groupies I knew were more like courtesans or muses. They were really amazing people who were very plugged into style and music and very savvy or at least a lot of fun. One of the best known and most successful groupies I knew in Austin lent me a great jumpsuit to play that Tubes show at the Austin Opera House that you panned ;) Most of the guys I played with were much older and married (I was in my early 20s they were in their late 30s) with families. One of them liked to have sex with groupies on the road. Knowing the guys I used to play with, you can pretty much figure out which one. As for whether the guys in the band "got" the groupies instead of me, well having you name in lights and being out front always seems to trump everything else. Female rockers react to groupies as individuals. Some like them, some don't. Some want women groupies, some want male ones. I might add, that this is true for male rockers too, there are some gay ones.
Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 13 Sep 05 14:50
> Rolling Stone doesn't/didn't > regularly run feature stories on the women backstage, treats (if at > all)/treated them very differently. But the Rolling Stone Groupies issue certainly was groundbreaking for several reasons. It put Jann Wenner's relatively small publication into the limelight in such a way that his whole world changed. It also legitimized what groupies did by making a subset of them stars in their own right. Suddenly Karen (the woman who's photo by Baron Wolman graced that issue of Rolling Stone and also graces "Electric Ladyland") was somebody important, not just a backstage decoration. She, and Harlow and Henri (Hi Henri, if you're reading this!) and all the other women in that issue -- they were so interesting, so ... so ... so cool!
Steve Bjerklie (stevebj) Tue 13 Sep 05 15:14
BTW, Karen was, I believe, Baron Wolman's wife or girlfriend or something at the time the photo was made.
Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Tue 13 Sep 05 15:30
Cynthia, absolutely true. I found the aspect of the Groupie Issue that really put RS on the map was the fact that they bought a full back page ad in the NY Times the week the issue came out. No one in the "legitimate" press could figure out how the magazine could have afforded it, but it intrigued them and served as Wenner's first volley into above ground journalism. I discuss this in some detail in the book. The issue did identify some of groupies to those outside the rock subculture. But it also let people who didn't know them (or any other groupies for that matter) talk about them in the only terms they could talk about women who had sex with lots of men, i.e. easy, whore, bad girl, woman of no value. In the long run, I think "outing" the groupies to the world at large has left them vulnerable to some really shoddy journalism and hyberbole. Steve, Baron didn't mention that he and Karen were going out, but if that beautiful picture he took of her doesn't say it, what will? I'm ashamed that I didn't ask him about it. (LOL) The shot really is the crown jewel of an already stunning collection of pictures of the groupies. I included as many of Baron's pictures as I could afford and he was very generous because it was a small press (and he is a really decent guy). I am so pleased that he allowed us to put Karen on the cover. I think her expression captures the spirit of the times perfectly.
Berliner (captward) Tue 13 Sep 05 23:51
That issue also made it possible for Jenny Fabian's novel Groupie to get published, which set half its readers onto a who's-that-supposed-to-be hunt and the other half into thinking more seriously about the whole phenom.
Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Wed 14 Sep 05 00:28
Not to mention that that issue and the subsequent book Groupies was the epiphany of my life at age 15. I badgered my mother into buying the book for me when I saw it at our local supermarket in 1970. And the book quite literally became my Bible. I mean, here were all these women (and the odd man or two) being celebrated for ... SEX WITH ROCK STARS. It seemed so damn cool and so far away from my mundane life. I decided I wanted to be a groupie then and there. It wasn't hard, with the massive crush on Stevie Winwood I had. In fact, my entire purpose for being a groupie was with hopes of getting to Stevie Winwood but a romance got in the way. I almost came face to face with him in Seattle in '72 (I think, it was the Low Sparks tour and Traffic played the Paramount Theatre) but I sort of chickened out/felt too guilty about my boyfriend to do anything but stare at him from about 10 feet away. Next time I fell for a musician, I wouldn't be so shy.
Margaret Moser (fairblonde) Wed 14 Sep 05 01:00
Among the many things I loved about being a groupie was the healthy respect and admiration it gave me for women musicians. By the time the punk/new wave scene kicked in around Austin, I was well aware of the power of a trend and recognized early that punk/new wave was the first trend to really offer women an equal opportunity at the music game. You could embrace your inner slut and sing about feminist politics at the same time. It was an intoxicating combination for me and I participated not by performing but by managing one of the primary female-fronted bands in Austin, the Chickadiesels. I also managed the notorious Huns for a short while and should point out I wasn't a good band manager. But punk was nothing if not a total immersion movement and you could be pretty much whatever you wanted to be. I always regarded Lisa as one of the best of the distaff musicians of the era in Austin. I was a fan of 5 Spot especially and thought the way she surrounded herself with some of the best players and songwriters from the scene was smart and savvy. She played guitar well and with confidence, and had a knack for songwriting that I thought was underrated. In fact, I really expected her to break in a big way. And I think her songs still hold up. I'd put "Shivers" on any 80s collection out of Austin. I also valued the touring women musicians I met during the late 70s and early 80s. I loved how Southern and quirky Kate and Cindy from the B-52s were, and how beautifully aloof Annie Lennox was in the Tourists. I adored Chrissie Hynde for shooing her band from the couches backstage at the Armadillo and inviting the Texas Blondes in to talk with her. I adored Marianne Faithfull at Club Foot for being so incredibly witty and so obviously vulnerable. I was so impressed that Tina Weymouth was such an integral part of Talking Heads. Debbie Harry was quite literally my idol - for the better part of 20 years, I wore my hair bleached like hers with the brunette underlayer. And my experiences around these women really shaped not just my view of women in music but inspired me to continue writing.
Lisa Rhodes (lisarhodes) Wed 14 Sep 05 08:07
M, thanks for the kind words (I blush in a virtual way). I really wanted to include women from all different parts of the rock world in this book because I don't see them as separate. As a youngster, I learned so much from the older women performers and journalists. I never will forget the kindnesses, like the time when I was trying to decide whether to sign a management contract. I didn't know what the standard terms were and I didn't know who to ask. I mentioned this to Lou Ann Barton and she GAVE me a copy of her contract with Jerry Wexler to look at. When I opened for Joan Jett, she noticed that 5 Spot played a Suzi Quatro song and invited me backstage to play it with her. She gave me road tips and I was in awe because she had already been on the road so many years (She was 21, I was 20). There are so many instances of women from all areas of the industry and subculture helping each other out that I wanted to try and recreate that in the book.
David Gans (tnf) Wed 14 Sep 05 09:50
> Chickadiesels Love that name. Chrissie Hynde is one of the greatest, full stop. In my magazine writing days, I had two succcessive encounters with female- fronted bands that really pushed my buttons. My editor (at Record magazine) decided that I should put 'em together into one piece. BIMBO ROCK Missing Persons and Berlin are less than the sum of their parts, so to speak (9/84 issue) http://www.levity.com/gans/bimbo.html Both Terri Nunn and Dale Bozzio seemed to be taking a giant step backward, with musical quality taking a back seat to sexual manipulation. I might have a completely different take on all this now, being 20 years older and a good deal more well-adjusted in general, but at the time, I thought their come-ons to me were ludicrous.
Members: Enter the conference to participate